There’s still no new collective bargaining agreement at this writing, meaning no KC Royals games are imminent. But sometimes, even in the midst of their most contentious and acrimonious labor struggle in over 25 years, MLB (think owners and their clubs) and the players have managed to get something right.
And that’s good news for many workers the MLB lockout can damage financially.
The Major League Baseball Players Association—the union—moved first, announcing last Friday a fund to provide assistance to stadium and other workers who might be sidelined if the work stoppage continues.
It won’t be a token effort. The fund, to be operated by the MLBPA and the AFL-CIO, will be $1 million:
MLB followed suit earlier today, but in a slightly different way. It’s also creating a $1 million fund, with the money distributed by the teams to part-time and seasonal spring training workers on an as-needed basis
While these moves by MLB and the players come with obvious public relations benefits—especially when fans are angry with both sides—their potential positive impact on workers standing to benefit from the parties’ mutual benevolence is undeniable and commendable. Without the funds, some affected workers might struggle to make ends meet and some might be forced to seek unemployment benefits (if eligible).
The KC Royals are no strangers to helping out employees in tough times.
The funds created for workers impacted by the MLB lockout bring to mind how the Royals treated their employees and minor league players when the pandemic forced interruption of the big league season, and cancellation of the minor league campaign, in 2020.
While some other major league franchises saved money by releasing many of their minor leaguers and laying off or furloughing employees, the Royals went in an entirely different direction. They refused to release anyone, paid stipends to their minor leaguers, and didn’t furlough or lay off employees.
The club’s approach wasn’t surprising. It’s the Royal Way.
MLB and the players are fighting, but haven’t let their labor war stand in the way of trying to help workers affected by the MLB lockout.